Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron strike comedic gold in the hilarious romcom, Long Shot. The tired premise of a goofy nerd winning the heart of a beautiful woman gets a brilliant new take. The film is an old-fashioned romance with a heavy sprinkling of raunchy fun and vulgarity. It also satirizes our divided political climate with cleverer than expected insights. Long Shot is the comedy to beat at this summer’s box office.
Seth Rogen stars as Fred Flarsky, an uber liberal investigative journalist at a Brooklyn newspaper. He takes more than a few lumps getting his hard-hitting exposés. Fred prides himself on holding truth to power; jabbing a middle finger to big media and the establishment. Fred’s world comes crashing down when his newspaper is sold to a right-wing, Rupert Murdoch-esque (Andy Serkis) tycoon. Fred quits on principle, but is now unemployed and totally broke.
Charlize Theron co-stars as Charlotte Field, the stunningly beautiful and glamorous Secretary of State. Charlotte is a workaholic, every minute of her schedule micromanaged by a pair of doting aides (June Diane Raphael, Ravi Patel). Charlotte has spent her life as a do-gooder and political activist. She desperately wants to become the first female president. Charlotte and Fred spot each other at a high brow event in New York City. She was Fred’s babysitter as a teenager. Charlotte hires Fred to add humor to her speeches. His lifelong love for a seemingly unreachable woman is finally given a chance.
Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron have fantastic chemistry. Long Shot, though similar in premise, is not Knocked Up redux. The lead characters complete each other in genuine ways. Charlotte is a brilliant stateswoman and politician, but is confined by the rigidity of her work. She’s desperate for humor, warmth, and true companionship. Fred is so judgemental in his world views, he needed someone sophisticated to challenge him. Charlotte is obviously gorgeous, any heterosexual man with a pulse would lust after her. A subplot has the pretty boy Canadian Prime Minister (Alexander Skarsgård) challenging for Charlotte’s affections. The disparity between he and Fred shows Charlotte’s honest realization about her needs. The result is an endearing romance between two well defined characters.
Long Shot wouldn’t be a Seth Rogen movie without marijuana. Fred is an unabashed recreational drug user. His pill popping and weed smoking is on full display throughout. Most of these scenes are laugh out loud funny. Then there’s the coarse language and sex. Long Shot doesn’t have nudity, but earns its R-rating with adult situations. Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron have several memorable hook-ups. The supporting characters are stupefied that Charlotte and Fred are doing the horizontal tango. Their coming to grips with the romance is a big part of the film’s charm and humor.
I have no doubt that Long Shot will be criticized for promulgating male fantasy. Haters will say that this is another Hollywood film where a spectacular woman falls for a schlubby guy. It’s true we rarely see the reverse situation, but don’t let a preconception ruin the joy of Long Shot. Fred’s character is very likeable, experiences tremendous personal growth, and is staunchly supportive of Charlotte. It’s understandable and relatable why Charlotte falls for him. Long Shot will warm your heart and tickle your funny bone. It is produced by Summit Entertainment and distributed by Lionsgate.
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